The more I start to feel like I understand the Holy Spirit, the more the Holy Spirit is beyond my understanding. And yet, we are promised that if we seek the Holy Spirit, we will find Her. Ask. Seek. Knock–and things get opened up.
Sitting alongside other little kids at short tables surrounded by cinder block walls and paper posters of Jesus, I learned many things in Sunday School. There and in Confirmation I learned that the Holy Spirit is the third person of God: God’s spirit dwelling in us, counseling us, being with us, but how has this head understanding put its feet on the ground in my life?
I can look back and feel in certain instances that the Holy Spirit was working through me, but can I say any of them were for sure? The Holy Spirit is the part of my faith that I feel most certain about and least certain about all at the same time.
For me the Holy Spirit is this sense that your actions and thoughts are aligning with something deeper. One of the times in my life when this became tangible was when I was a camp counselor. After the whirlwind weeks, we would load campers and sleeping bags into vans and cars and trucks, and find ourselves in an open field of freedom knowing that we were once again college-aged young adults who no longer had children under our charge. Woohoo!
Shortly after this unchaining (if you’ll forgive the comparison), we would gather for prayer. With sun-tanned ankles hiding sock-lines beneath and friend-o (friendship bracelets) circling our arms, we would stand in a circle hand in hand.
During this time we shared prayer concerns, and one by one random people would pipe in saying, “I’ve got that one,” or “I’ll pray for that one.” This tired circle of different experiences, backgrounds, races, and college majors, would then pray for each other. Something about it felt strong in a way I haven’t experienced in regular life, like there was a deep and Holy Spirit dwelling in it.
In that circle I realized many of the people I’d been working closely with were dealing with complicated life behind their smiles as they hiked and sang and cleaned breakfast dishes. How had I not known?
One of my supervisors joked that being a camp counselor equips and ruins you for the rest of life. The experience of living and working in community reminds me that the Holy Spirit works through us, through our words, through our hands helping the needs we see and praying for those we can’t. The more we try to understand the Holy Spirit, the closer we come, and yet the more we throw up our hands and just try to love the mystery.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22, NLT)
Baking my Dad’s Birthday Cake
Unpacking bags from the best trip
Morning cuddles with little ones
Snow boots splashing in puddles (we don’t have rain boots around here)
Your turn . . .